Skip to content

Spurrier on Clowney: Amazing talent, OK work ethic

Mississippi State v South Carolina Getty Images

The scouting report on former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has long been that his athletic talent is second to none, but he doesn’t always work as hard as he should. Clowney’s college coach, Steve Spurrier, is doing nothing to dispel that notion.

Asked on NFL AM to assess Clowney, Spurrier gushed about his greatness as a player and downplayed talk that his production was down in 2013. But Spurrier also acknowledged that Clowney wasn’t the hardest worker on the team.

“Even though his production this year wasn’t near what it was last year, he had two or three guys waiting on him just about every play,” Spurrier said. “His run defense was very good, though, and he chased down a bunch of guys and made tackles. His sacks — he had to run around two or three guys just about every game. I don’t think teams will quite do that in the NFL, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Asked about Clowney’s work ethic, Spurrier didn’t sound as enthused, suggesting that Clowney didn’t work as hard as some of the other star players Spurrier coached at South Carolina.

“He was OK. It wasn’t like Marcus Lattimore, you know, every player is a little different,” Spurrier said. “His work habits are pretty good, they’re not quite like Lattimore, maybe Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, some of those guys, but when the ball is snapped he’s got something no one else has.”

Clowney’s talent will make him a Top 10 pick. An NFL team getting him to improve that work ethic may be what it takes for Clowney to become not a good player, but a great player.

Permalink 56 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories
56 Responses to “Spurrier on Clowney: Amazing talent, OK work ethic”
  1. green41563 says: Feb 19, 2014 10:27 AM

    This comes off as an honest, well-intentioned assessment. Doesn’t seem as if he’s out to get the kid.

  2. ingraven says: Feb 19, 2014 10:28 AM

    Can we just fast forward to Free Agency and the Draft already. The only interesting things that happen during the “Off Season” til April when the schedule comes out.

  3. grruffgrruff says: Feb 19, 2014 10:29 AM

    Work ethic is what makes you become great.
    Don’t see that happening though.
    Dude thinks he’s entitled.

  4. drwbrsdmndsnxplntn says: Feb 19, 2014 10:29 AM

    The “clown” part of his name scares me a little.

  5. seatownballers says: Feb 19, 2014 10:29 AM

    Jacksonville

  6. gsiggins says: Feb 19, 2014 10:30 AM

    As a Niner fan, love hearing Lattimore being held up as the gold standard there. Hope he has a huge year splitting carries w/ Gore.

  7. drsportsjock says: Feb 19, 2014 10:31 AM

    Amazing talent, OK work ethic sounds a lot like Albert Haynesworth

  8. jbaxt says: Feb 19, 2014 10:32 AM

    “Pretty good”. AKA, if he practiced harder he’d be unstoppable. But since he has all the god given talent he sluffs off and gets by with what no one has ever been given.

    Kinda sad really, to be that gifted and only give about 50% effort.

  9. gochargersgo says: Feb 19, 2014 10:32 AM

    Not giving him a pass, but going into the season everyone and their grandmother was advising this guy to take it easy and not risk millions. Maybe a little of it went to his head, and as the big shot on the team who was going to tell him otherwise? I think a good coach and veteran locker room will be able to get the most out of this guy, which could be scary.

  10. gochargersgo says: Feb 19, 2014 10:33 AM

    Also credit Spurrier for giving an honest assessment and not typical coach speak.

  11. fdugrad says: Feb 19, 2014 10:33 AM

    “He was OK.” Is not exactly what I would want to hear my head coach saying in reference to my work ethic. A player needs NO natural talent to work diligently. Whichever club eventually decides to take Clowney had better spend copious amounts of time attempting to picture his work ethic AFTER he is a rich, entitled pro football player. The history of the NFL is replete with large numbers of BUSTS who had MOUNTAINS of natural talent.

  12. ajgreenhof says: Feb 19, 2014 10:34 AM

    Everyone put him on a high horse way too early.

  13. barrywhererufrom says: Feb 19, 2014 10:35 AM

    His talent alone should make him the number one pick but after hearing that he is not the hardest worker on the team that would scare me. This is a man’s league and you will be exposed if you don’t put the work in. That rap is almost as bad as the player who don’t know really loves the game. You can’t fake it..talent alone will only get you so far I hope for Clowney’s sake this isn’ true but I feel it is..

  14. Coach John Harbaugh says: Feb 19, 2014 10:35 AM

    he has BUST written all over him

  15. realdealsteel says: Feb 19, 2014 10:36 AM

    To me, an “ok” work ethic is a red flag. Tells me he thinks someone owes him something.

  16. El Pollo Loco says: Feb 19, 2014 10:36 AM

    Sounds like Simeon Rice.When rice wanted to play he was dominant,when he didn’t you never even knew he was playing.

  17. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Feb 19, 2014 10:39 AM

    Most of the REALLY great ones have impeccable work ethics (Brady, Manning (Peyton), Singletary, Payton, Rice, etc.).

    But every once in a while, very rarely, a player can do great things with a less-than-stellar work ethic. Lawrence Taylor was not known for busting his tail in the off-season. Neither was Sonny Jurgenson way back in the day. John Riggins was a legendary player, but he too seemed to downshift if it wasn’t NFL Sunday.

    If Clowney could borrow Singletary’s exceptional work ethic for just 12 years (and avoids injuries or criminal charges) – he has at least a chance of going down as the best ever. But if he fat cats it — he could go the way of Jamarcus Russell: wealthy, miserable, overweight and full of regrets and excuses.

  18. raiderlyfe510 says: Feb 19, 2014 10:41 AM

    No way I use a top 5 pick on him. Unless I had a Head Coach like Mike Singletary who would challenge him to his core.

  19. ugk612 says: Feb 19, 2014 10:41 AM

    Sure hope he falls to #8 in the daft.

  20. ariani1985 says: Feb 19, 2014 10:42 AM

    Just another version of lazy clay Matthews.

  21. fwippel says: Feb 19, 2014 10:44 AM

    Gotta love Spurrier. He’s never afraid to tell it like it is.

    The truth is Clowney is an amazing talent who could be an all-time great if he’s willing to put in the effort.

  22. beavertonsteve says: Feb 19, 2014 10:49 AM

    The good news is that motivation and work ethic can be coached and developed a lot easier than freak athleticism.

  23. jagsfan1 says: Feb 19, 2014 10:53 AM

    With all due respect Mr. Spurrier….does that not sound a little bit like yourself?

  24. pftmaniac says: Feb 19, 2014 10:58 AM

    I don’t blame Clowney for being very careful last season, he had multi-millions at stake. Nobody is sure if he has a questionable work ethic or if he was simply protecting his health in 2013. I don’t recall anyone questioning his work ethic during the 2012 season, and there was significant speculation that he could have gone #1 overall if he was eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft.

    The big question is how he will react once his financial future is secure. Will he rise to the challenge and become a holy terror or will he become a diva? Nobody knows at this point, which is the only reason why he might not be the #1 overall selection.

    In any case, that hit on the Michigan running back during the 2013 Outback Bowl was LEGENDARY!

  25. 1rockyracoon says: Feb 19, 2014 11:19 AM

    Nobody develops a work ethic over night. How hard will he play when he has millions of dollars and the team he’s playing for stinks .

  26. puppybowler says: Feb 19, 2014 11:32 AM

    I’m totally fine with him taking plays off in school. EVERY D-LINEMAN DOES!!! His best friend Marcus Lattimore blew his knee out and it cost him millions. You can’t kill a college kid who was guaranteed millions, if he just stayed healthy for the season.

    We’ve seen him be very productive on the top level of college football. He wasn’t a bust coming out of HS, as the top recruit in the nation and he’ll be fine in the pros.

    Just put him around vets who will get on him (NOT Richie Incognito) and help him develop on and off the field. The guy is a freak of nature and I will personally welcome him to the New York Giants locker room.

    Please more “red flags” come out about this guy so he can drop to us.

  27. medialovesthecowboys says: Feb 19, 2014 11:32 AM

    “…once the ball is snapped he’s got something no one else has”

    If Clowney puts in max effort to prepare, he’ll be something none of us have ever seen before.

  28. cubano76 says: Feb 19, 2014 11:34 AM

    That’s funny! That’s exactly what Redskins Fans say about the Ol’ Ball Coach.

  29. troy43mvp says: Feb 19, 2014 11:45 AM

    Top ten pick is not when you “hope” for a player to be great. You gotta know what you have and know that they are going to contribute. All be it no guarantees when it comes to the draft,work ethic cannot even be a question when t comes to top ten picks. Too much at stake.

  30. thestatsishere says: Feb 19, 2014 11:48 AM

    This changes everything with some GMs for sure. What good is talent if it isn’t used?

  31. thelastwordyaheard says: Feb 19, 2014 12:05 PM

    just stop it already.. this guy is going top 3 without a doubt & will be a beast as a pro.. bank on it

  32. chargerdillon says: Feb 19, 2014 12:06 PM

    How much work ethic do you think Lawrence Taylor learned while golfing through his college years?

    More often than not the thing that separates the guys at the top who have the ultimate physical talent is work ethic.

    It’s quite obvious that Clowney controls his destiny and nobody else.

  33. r8rsfan says: Feb 19, 2014 12:06 PM

    If he goes #1 to Houston I’m pretty sure JJ Watt will hold him accountable. Seems like the ideal situation to me in regards to motivation.
    He’d instantly be the big man on campus if he’s taken by Oakland.

  34. jasonnored says: Feb 19, 2014 12:07 PM

    Gus Bradley could get the best out of him.

  35. willnit says: Feb 19, 2014 12:08 PM

    Yes! Keep talking. He sucks. He’s a bust. Hopefully he falls in the draft.
    …he’s gonna be a monster.

  36. sopadegato says: Feb 19, 2014 12:09 PM

    If Manziel had acted the way Clowney had this season – barely visible, pathetic statistics, excuses out the wazoo – I can guaran-damn-tee you he wouldn’t be getting the white knighting that Jadeveon is.

  37. jedyknyt says: Feb 19, 2014 12:19 PM

    HE’S GOT “RAIDERS” WRITTEN ALL OVER HIM!!!

  38. granadafan says: Feb 19, 2014 12:21 PM

    The Clown is going to have a rude awakening when he gets to the NFL where everyone is gifted athletically and he can’t just use his speed to get around the tackle. He’s certainly not going to bull rush anyone. He reminds me of Javon Kearse “the Freak” who produced very well until teams adjusted to him and he couldn’t put the effort in film study, workouts, technique, etc. When he was hurt, he was never the same as it was said he didn’t work out very hard.

  39. tavisteelersfan says: Feb 19, 2014 12:21 PM

    drwbrsdmndsnxplntn says:
    Feb 19, 2014 10:29 AM
    The “clown” part of his name scares me a little.

    I think that might be the feeling of tackles everywhere, scared they’ll end up looking like a clown.

  40. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Feb 19, 2014 12:26 PM

    Spurrier just keepin’ it real. Clowney has no ceiling if he works hard and applies himself at the next level.

    I think we are looking at a guy who will play very hard in a contract year but after getting paid, not so much. And there are a lot of guys in the NFL like that.

  41. rubenxx7 says: Feb 19, 2014 12:33 PM

    Just call him the Randy Moss of Defensive line. Take every other play off or two off. Talent wil only get you so far. I see him being hurt alot cause he wont be preparing himself.

  42. doe22us says: Feb 19, 2014 12:36 PM

    I will take a partier like Manziel over someone with questionable work ethic, because you know once he was on the football field he was given you his all, this guy not so much, and i dont even like Johnny M.

  43. realfootballfan says: Feb 19, 2014 12:47 PM

    Yea, his “work ethic” when he was playing for free is questionable. LOL. Not to mention, we’re not talking about a QB, but a defensive lineman, which makes this statement even more dumb.

    Also, good job bringing up the poster child for him to have been protecting himself last year since he watched Lattimore get his knee turned to spaghetti before he could turn pro. Clowney is going to be a stud in the pros. Anyone saying otherwise doesn’t know anything about football.

  44. dalcow4 says: Feb 19, 2014 1:04 PM

    And this is without money. Or at least not that much of it. Give him millions of guaranteed $ and it will only get worse.

  45. kneedragr says: Feb 19, 2014 1:18 PM

    Why people keep saying he is a potential top 10 pick is beyond me. This kid is the best defensive player to the NFL in the last decade easy, the question is whether he will be the #1 pick or not. Yeah his motor wasnt that great in school this season, but why should he practice and play his final season like the aforementioned Lattimore and potentially end up ruined like him and drafted in the 4th round?

  46. rufustfireflyjr says: Feb 19, 2014 1:19 PM

    Let’s keep in mind that Spurrier failed at the NFL level, scoffed at NFL coaches who spent evenings in their offices, and said that he and his coaches would never do that and would be out on the golf course, instead. I’m not sure that he is in any position to judge what an “OK” work ethic is at the NFL level.

  47. 302baller says: Feb 19, 2014 1:22 PM

    Sounds like he’s a Cowboy already.

  48. jacksonjames4 says: Feb 19, 2014 1:25 PM

    Well, let’s be honest, it’s not like that whole lack of work ethic isn’t in his DNA

  49. harveyredman says: Feb 19, 2014 1:39 PM

    Yeah, well at least he didn’t get so wasted he slept in at Manning’s camp and then lie about it. At least he didn’t violate NCAA rules and take money for autographs (even though his parents are deca-millionaires) and then lie about it.

    I will take a guy who needs to be pushed on his work ethic over a guy who lacks personal integrity.

    Work ethic can be coached, a lack of integrity speaks to a person’s flawed character and is much harder to change.

  50. destroyedbydansnyder says: Feb 19, 2014 1:50 PM

    “Practice?!?!?! You want to talk about practice?!?!?”
    – Allen “Poor work ethic legend” Iverson

  51. sconnyslovethemsomecousins says: Feb 19, 2014 1:52 PM

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

  52. NoobTubeTV says: Feb 19, 2014 2:06 PM

    The next Vernon Gholston. Mark it down.

  53. jayquintana says: Feb 19, 2014 2:14 PM

    “With the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Houston Texans select… Johnny Manziel.”

  54. carpi2 says: Feb 19, 2014 2:27 PM

    The long list of NFL busts is littered with players, who had enormous physical abilities, but lacking work ethic.

    Clowny may be a grenade, and unfortunately, for one NFL team, they will unknowingly pull the pin.

  55. supesfan34 says: Feb 19, 2014 3:21 PM

    Sounds like the next Julius Peppers. Will probably be really good but never live up to his potential…

  56. gret9 says: Feb 19, 2014 4:55 PM

    Okay, if you are going to use Marcus Lattimore as your measuring stick of work ethic there aren’t many folks in or out of the NFL that are going to measure up.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!